She wasn't ready. I wasn't ready. None of us were ready. And still it happened. My mom passed away on Thursday. The last week has been a blur of driving back and forth to the hospital, parenting through texting, juggling school and activities, worrying about profoundly stupid things (hair cuts, baths) because you don't want to think about what is looming right in front of you, and caring for my mom and step-father. The whole time all I heard from people was how strong I was. First of all, if you were raised by someone like my mother, you have no choice but to be strong. Most importantly, I am strong because my family has given me a foundation of strength and my friends give me the support. Without these things, I am nothing more than a crumbling building.
I am always surprised by how many people I have behind me. When things hit the fan, I am never alone. Some days, I might feel like a one woman army, but there are tons of invisible troops right behind me holding me up. I have lost the strongest member of that troop, so I'm going to have to rely on the others to ban together.
It goes without saying that my family has been awesome. Rob has been so patient. He's put out more fires related to the kids and the house this week and never once got annoyed by the fact that I blew up his phone texting him to check on the status of these things. My brother, my step-father, and I have held each other up. It is so much easier to decide how to help someone you love when you have a team. My aunt came immediately and stayed with Chris. She has been in touch with me all summer checking on us and making sure we were ok. Then there's my step-mother, my friends, my in-laws, my cousins, the rest of my family, my scout family, the list is endless. It is like being hit with a lightning bolt of love. And of course, there is always my girls. My beautiful amazing girls.
Our church community has been phenomenal. My parent's friends were there until the bitter end. Cancer is a nasty, dignity stealing disease. The end of my mother's life was hard and not at all what she deserved. We could not have gone through it with grace, if we did not have people right beside us showing us the way. Her nurse was quiet literally an angel on Earth. I can never thank her enough for treating my mom like the amazing woman she was and making sure she was never scared or humiliated or in pain.
My school family just took my breathe away and filled my heart. Early on I established a rule of only communicating about my mom through text. That way, I didn't cry at work and could always focus on the kids. My teammates pitched in and made sure I had the best sub, wrote my plans, and checked on me often. They sent me silly stories and pictures. They even updated me on what was going on at school. My job is therapy for me. If I focus on one thing too long I get tunnel vision. Thinking about work and my mom and the girls gave my whirling mind enough to stay on track. I stopped by school on Thursday, mostly to get a boost of joy. I got hugs and laughs and love. I am so glad that I did because I needed all of that to pull from when my mom passed away a few hours later.
If I forgot to mention someone, I am so sorry. I have been running on adrenaline and sweet tea. My brain is addled, but my heart is full because of all of you.
People keep asking me how they can help and what do I need. You all have given me everything already. I've got the little stuff covered (food, the girls, the house) because you all already gave me the strength.